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NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN - PIANO MUSIC - MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN (Piano) - 034571174334 - Hyperion CDA67433

For those who don't know him, Nikolai Kapustin was born in the Ukraine in 1937 and studied classical piano and composition at the Moscow Conservatory and eventually became quite a piano virtuoso. At some point in his life he discovered jazz and loved it so much that he decided to combine his dual interests into one idiom, a fusion of classical structure and jazz style.

Therefore on this disc you have a Piano Sonata, Concert Etudes, a Suite in the Old Style, etc...that all sound like American jazz, and even sound like complex improvisations done on the fly like real jazz, but they're not. Every single note of each work is written down. Nothing is improvised. And most of it is very difficult stuff that the pianist has to study, learn and memorize, and play with technical ease and make it sound like improvised jazz. Quite the challenge for anybody you would think.

As usual Hamelin plays all of these with aplomb, fun, sense of direction, technical wizardry, all with the swing of jazz. A great cd for anyone who loves challenging piano music with a twist.

Jean-Yves Duperron